Siddhartha V. Shah, Director of Education and Civic Engagement, Curator of South Asian Art
Siddhartha V. Shah joined PEM in 2018 after a long career as an entrepreneurial art professional with wide-ranging interests in South Asian art. In addition to working as an independent curator, Shah specialized in Hindu and Buddhist art of the Kathmandu Valley, visual and material culture of the British Raj, as well as modern and contemporary Indian art. Shah develops exhibitions that tell the stories of artists, communities and traditions of South Asia, as well as important moments in the history of the region. This fall, Shah curated the installation of PEM’s new South Asian Art Galleries to consider how colonial occupation shaped ideas and perceptions of India that persist even today, as well as shed new light on the museum’s renowned Chester and Davida Herwitz Collection of modern Indian Art and what it reveals about nation-building and self-discovery. In his role as Director of Education and Civic Engagement, Shah creates alignment and synergy between the museum’s education and curatorial departments while focusing on community engagement and impactful programming.
Shah earned his B.A. in art history from Johns Hopkins University, an M.A. in East-West Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies, and a Ph.D. in art history from Columbia University. His academic and curatorial projects have been featured in publications ranging from India Today and The Times of India, to Psychology Today and The New Yorker. He was a member of the 2020-2021 City of Salem Race Equity Task Force, and currently serves on the Boards of the American Council for Southern Asian Art, Salem YMCA, Voices Against Injustice, on the Advisory Council of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, and the Professional Alliance for Curators of Color (Association of Art Museum Curators).
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